The Musical Styles of Los Angeles

Like New York City, Los Angeles is not only a center of Latino cultures and music in the U.S., but also a major source of mainstream American music. The axis of our country's recording industry since the early decades of the 20th century, L.A. gave rise to diverse genres of Latino music, ranging from jazz and rock to traditional Mexican to hip-hop.

The Latino neighborhoods of Los Angeles are generally congregated in city's east side with the African Americans to the south. The far richer Anglo areas, like Hollywood and Beverly Hills, are to the west. This segregation not only affected the cultural and economic landscape of the city, but also the music.

Latin American musicians drew much inspiration from the rhythm-based styles of their African American neighbors, creating new hybrid genres like Latin jazz and pachuco boogie around the mid-20th century.

Meanwhile, Chicano rock and Latin rock incorporated traditional Mexican form into rock n' roll, a new style of music that was becoming popular all across the country. Later, East L.A. punk emerged, a Latino version of that genre that was gaining steam across town in the late ‘70s. More recently, a new form of Mexican-influenced hip-hop, called banda rap, has risen.

These styles - and many more - grew out of East Los Angeles. Explore the history of L.A. Latino music and the influence the city's east side had, in its breakthrough moments, on the music scene there.